All LASP students take the following courses, which make up LASP's experiential and academic core. Courses with an asterisk * may be taken in Spanish or English.
6 semester credits, required
Students come to Costa Rica with varying degrees of fluency in Spanish, so LASP places them in the Spanish class that corresponds to each participant's level of oral proficiency based on a placement exam and interview given prior to arrival. Classes are small and are taught by Latin Americans. Communicative competence and cultural understanding are emphasized and learning is reinforced during everyday interaction with Spanish-speaking host families.
(Possible Credit: Spanish Language, Culture)
Introduces students to the Spanish language through the development of the oral communication skills of speaking, listening and culturally-appropriate courtesy requirements, as well as some reading and writing skills. Students also will learn and practice correct Spanish pronunciation. Students will be able to reach the equivalent of Novice High on the ACTFL proficiency scale.
Reviews basic Spanish grammar and develops the students’ oral communication, listening, reading and writing skills while learning about Costa Rican culture. Students will be able to reach the equivalent of Intermediate Low on the ACTFL proficiency scale.
Introduces students to intermediate-level grammar and further develops the students’ oral communication, listening, reading and writing skills. Students will gain additional insight into Costa Rican culture through conversations with family members and through intensive group discussion. Students will be able to reach the equivalent of Intermediate High on the ACTFL proficiency scale.
Designed for students who have mastered the basic concepts of the language. Continues the students’ development of their oral communications, listening, reading and writing skills while learning about Costa Rican culture. Students will be able to reach the equivalent of Intermediate High on the ACTFL proficiency scale.
Places special emphasis on intensive grammar review and involves practice in everyday communication situations with emphasis on vocabulary and speaking proficiency, while learning about Costa Rican culture. Special attention will be given to speaking and listening skills. Students will be able to reach the equivalent of Advanced Mid on the ACTFL proficiency scale.
Designed for students who have completed four levels of Spanish and are ready for advanced-level study in Spanish. The course continues the students’ development of their oral communication, listening, reading and writing skills while learning about Costa Rican culture. Also, composition and translation will be used to increase grammatical accuracy. Students will be able to reach the equivalent of Advanced High on the ACTFL proficiency scale.
*Perspectives on Latin America: History and Contemporary Issues
3 semester credits, required
This seminar introduces the social, historical, political, economic and theological currents that constitute Latin American society and culture. The course includes readings, presentations by Latin American experts and field trips to various sites.
(Possible Credits: History, General Studies, Cross-Cultural Studies, Spanish)
*Regional Study Travel
1-3 semester credits (as determined by the student’s home campus), required
The LASP group visits Limon province, affording interactions with a Costa Rican indigenous community, the traditional Afro-Caribbean population, as well as more recent immigrants. We also visit other countries in Central America during the semester. This travel practicum component is not a vacation trip; it is an integral part of the learning process. Students attend conferences, complete selected readings and maintain a journal of ideas and perceptions developed throughout the trips, and write a term paper.
*The number of credits granted for this course is determined by each student's home campus.
3 semester credits, required
During the final weeks of the semester, students relocate to a different homestay. Most are in rural areas in Costa Rica, allowing them to experience a contrast to urban life in San José. In consultation with LASP staff, students choose from a variety of settings that allow them to pursue a particular area of interest: microenterprise, organic farming, work with children, and sustainable ecology are just some examples of recent placements. This time – out of the classroom and in the field (sometimes literally!)- is the culmination of the Spanish proficiency and cultural learning students have been developing all semester.